EXCLUSIVE: Independent urban production outfit Swirl Films, known for hit Bounce drama series Saints & Sinners, has added two former BET executives to its management ranks.
Robert Boyd is joining the company as chief operating officer and Tony Strickland as unscripted chief and co-executive producer. Both will be based in Atlanta, where Swirl Films is headquartered, and report to Eric Tomosunas, the company’s founder and CEO.
As COO of Swirl, Boyd will lead its day-to-day operations as well as all production aspects, focusing on live events and entertainment shows with Tupelo Raycom.
Boyd was previously SVP of programming operations for BET Networks. In that role, he oversaw the negotiation of development and overall production deals as well as other TV-related personnel and service providers. Prior to BET, Boyd served as senior vice president of studio operations and production sales for Paramount Pictures.
Strickland will lead Swirl’s efforts in unscripted and alternative programming as well as specials. He will manage development executives and supervising producers as well as hiring showrunners for unscripted and music specials.
From 2017 to 2019, Strickland was VP of physical production at BET Networks, where he led the networks’ production management teams in tentpoles and music specials. He previously held director and senior director roles at BET, working on series like The Monique Show, The Game and Being Mary Jane.
Founded in 2008, Swirl has produced series for BET, Lifetime, Hallmark and Netflix, among others. In 2019, it bought a 100,000-square-foot studio in Atlanta.
“Swirl Films has ambitious goals for growth over the next year and it’s imperative that we bring on the right leaders with the right experience to work with us to get there,” Tomosunas said. “Robert and Tony are armed with years of diverse experience in both operations and productions of all scales across the globe, and their expertise will be crucial as we continue on this growth path.”
Boyd called it “an honor to partner with Eric and continue building on the 360-degree production model that encompasses the Swirl Films stages, production management and post production support for our new and returning partners.”
Strickland described his new role as “an opportunity of a lifetime,” adding, “The goal is to enact cultural impact with the content we produce, and I am confident we will do that here at Swirl Films.”
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